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ParkScore: Seattle and Chicago Tied for #11

ParkScore badges_Instagram_2017_11 Chicago

On Wednesday, May 24th, the Trust for Public Land rolled out the 2017 edition of ParkScore, the annual ranking of the parks systems of the 100 largest US cities. We’re highlighting results on this blog, but you can check out all of the details at parkscore.tpl.org.

This year, Seattle and Chicago tied for 11th place.  For both, it’s a move upwards in the ranks – in the case of Seattle, they were 13th in 2016 and in the case of Chicago, they were 15th.  Rankings are calculated using a formula that combines Acreage, Access and Investment and Amenities, which is explained in greater detail below.

ParkScore badges_Instagram_2017_11 Seattle

Acreage – includes median park size and parkland as percent of city area. (The median acreage for a park in the 100 largest US cities is 5.0 acres, Seattle has 2.4 acres and Chicago has 1.4 acres. The median percentage of parkland for the 100 largest US cities is 9.3 percent. Chicago has 10 percent and Seattle has 12 percent.)

Access – percent of residents within a 10 minute walk to a park.  (The median for the 100 largest US cities is 66 percent.  Chicago has 97 percent and Seattle has 94 percent.)

Spending – this is a 3 year average of the most recently completed fiscal years.  (The median is $80 per resident for the 100 largest US cities. Chicago is $173 per resident and Seattle is $279 per resident.)

Amenities – basketball hoops, dog parks, playgrounds, recreation & senior centers. We’ve landed on these four amenities because they are a) simple to count and quantify b) occur in all cities and park systems with little influence by region/geography etc. and c) most importantly, because they reflect the needs of a diverse population. Together these amenities serve very young children, active youths and adults, those with pets (who may or may not have children, plus dog parks are an increasingly popular and desired type of park or amenity), and a more elderly or less active population as well.

Press coverage on ParkScore for both cities includes:

For more information, visit each city’s parks & recreation websites: Chicago Park District and Seattle Parks and Recreation.

And if you have questions about ParkScore, please email us at ccpe@tpl.org.

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